Saturday, 27 May 2017

Movie Review: Moana

Moana, known as Vaiana in many European regions, is the 56th Disney animated feature film. It stars Auli'i Cravalho as Moana and Dwayne Johnson as Maui. It was directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, with a screenplay by Jared Bush and music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foa'i. Moana, who has lived on her island of Motunui all her life, has always dreamed of going out on the ocean. Long ago, the demigod Maui stole the heart (a small green stone) from Te Fiti, a life-giving goddess, but was stopped by Te Kah, a lava monster. After plant-life on Motunui stop growing because of the missing heart, Moana must sail across the sea, find Maui and take him to give back the heart of Te Fiti.

I wanted to get this review done while it was still in the cinema, but I found this to be one of those movies I needed to see a few times to get my thoughts together about it. And I don't have the money to see a movie several times while it's in the cinema.

All Disney movies have a theme, that ties in to the story and the moral. The one here was about finding who you really are. I loved that at the end, Moana didn't have to choose between her heart and the approval of her family - and she'd also got the approval of Maui, who was a father figure to her at this point. Of course, Maui had to find himself, too, and understand that nothing could stop him from being Maui. And Te Kah is actually Te Fiti, after she lost her heart. Obviously, she's not really an angry lava monster!

Since it's Disney, I shouldn't have to mention that the animation is excellent, should I? Some shots of the sky and sea look like a photograph, and Moana's hair might be the most realistic-looking hair Disney has done. There are also Maui's tattoo's, which have already been discussed. There's also everything in Lalotai, the 2D parts of some of the songs... basically, the whole movie is beautiful. The songs are also amazing, but frankly, Disney does not get points for that anymore.

One of the things I loved was how Moana wasn't naturally talented at sailing and wayfinding - she had to learn it. And there was a large portion of time when she was alone on the boat, if you don't count Hei Hei. I would've liked to have seen Pua alongside, too! In fact, my only complaint about the whole movie would be more Pua. But back to my original point, I loved how much she could do independently. And I also like how Moana overcomes every obstacle - the Ocean, Maui, and  even Te Kah, basically by being nice to them.

I recommend this movie to anyone who likes a fun adventure story.

Also, if you've never seen Auli'i's video of when she first found out she got the role of Moana, you should watch it. Now.

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